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George H. Williams

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Notes about Koha

Records / Singles

“Now and Then” The Beatles

This song has been out for several weeks now and I like it. But I’m not happy with the criticism leveled at the song. The criticisms are the modern equivalent of the early 20th century’s criticism of BEOWULF and what Tolkien had to say about that criticism in his essay “BEOWULF: The Monsters and the Critics.” In that essay Tolkien dismisses almost all of the previous BEOWULF criticism because it focuses almost entirely on the context of when, where, and how BEOWULF was created rather than studying BEOWULF the poem as a poem. Much of the early BEOWULF criticism was focused on the language and which part of England that language derived from; where the scholar who wrote the poem may have lived and worked; what the sources of the poem may have been; etc, etc. Tolkien used the anology of knocking down an old stone tower in order to examine the stones in an effort to figuring out where the stone quary had been without considering that from the top of the tower, you had a great view of the sea.

I’m seeing the same thing in the criticism of “Now and Then” by The Beatles. All of the reviews, criticism, and reactions I’ve read are focused on how they extracted John Lennon’s voice from the original demo tape; how this song fits into the pantheon of Beatles music; how George Harrison may or may not have like the song, etc, etc. Is this a song about John and Paul; is it a song about John and Yoko; is it a song about John and someone else; why did Paul drop some of the lyrics from the demo; and on and on. Most reviewers are asing the question, “Is this good enough to be a Beatles song?” But I haven’t read anyone asking the simpler question, “Is this a good song?”

My take is that it is. One of the things that makes a song greate is if it can be applied to many contexts. This song makes sense in multiple contexts. As it stands now in the version that was released, it’s a song about losing connection to other people who were important to you. My guess is that the only people who haven’t experienced a loss of connection to other people are people who are less than 10 years old. This is a song about how we lose connections to some and regain them and how we lose connections to others and never regain them. I’ve known many people in my life now and many others from my past that I could sing this song about - people who were hugely important to me that I haven’t seen in decades, people who were hugely important to me that I lost touch with, then regained. This song speaks to those connections and I can sympathize with the line “Now and then/I miss you” because I do miss these people and I do wish I they could be here for me now and that I could be there for them wherever they are. Sometimes this happens, and sometimes it doesn’t, but now and then I think of them and remember that I do love them. This song speaks to that part of me. It’s a great song.



This is one of my favorite albums. I’ve been listening to it repeatedly over the last couple of weeks. In particular I think of “Walk Between Raindrops” whenever I get close to my wedding anniversary (which is coming up on Saturday). This song captures the sense of happiness I felt for those first few months after I met my wife. But the rest of the album is great too. A really great CD.



I love Jim Pearce. He thinks jazz should be fun. This album is now a few years old, but I find myself listening to it about once a week. When it first came out I remember listening to it and explaining the song “Old as Dirt” to one of my co-workers at Latah Count Library. She did not appreciate that I said a song titled “Old as Dirt” reminded me of her that the line “What golden years / my knees are achin’” was the line that made me think of her because she was just about to have knee replacement surgery.

In a lot of respects I think Jim Pearce is a lot like The Bobs. They have both recorded some great music, but they also take the attitude that music should be fun. Jim Pearce’s albums are a lot of fun. The more recent album from 2020, titled LITTLE MOVIES is also great but it an insturmental only album.


TIME WARP II Erich Kunzel and the Cincinati Pops Orchestra

I bought TIME WARP II on CD shortly after I got my first CD player. I also bought the Cincinatti Pop’s 1812 Overture around the same time (this is the one with the digital cannon shots that broke the windows on the recording studio). This CD was a great way to re-experience some great movie moments - especially from the STAR TREK TV show. This CD includes a symphonic suite based on the original soundtrack for “The Cage” - STAR TREK’s first pilot episode. At the time this CD came out, this was about as close to soundtrack for STAR TREK as you could get. It would be a couple of years before there was an actual STAR TREK Soundtrack released see here. The album covers pieces of music featured in STAR TREK, ALIEN, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, SUPERMAN and, of course, 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. My favorite is the Cincinatti Pop’s rendition of the “Love theme from ‘Superman’” which is also sometimes called “Can You Read My Mind.”

Why am I writing about this? Two reasons. Between this, the previously mentioned 1812 Overture, and a copy of BOLERO and other music by Ravel performed by Leonard Slatkin and the Saint Louis Symphony, I became a collector of all things released by Telarc Digital. There’s a 90% chance that if Telarc released it, it’s good. And as of about a month or so ago, almost all of the Telarc back-catalog has become available on Spotify.


Hey man, is that Freedom Rock? Various artists

Let me be clear on this. I’ve never bought a record by phoning an 800 number and ordering from K-Tel or any of those 70s or 80s companies that used to direct market by advertising on TV. I had a friend that did. He had FREEDOM ROCK, the Neil Diamond collection they sold on TV in the 80s, an Elvis collection and he probably had a set of Ginsu knives too.

I made my copy of FREEDOM ROCK from his set of LPs. And the reason I re-created it on Spotify as a playlist is because it’s actually a really good collection. This has, to the best of Spotify’s capability, all of the songs that were on the 4 LP set I borrowed one weekend from John Betzsold - a co-worker at Matt’s Rathaus Pizza in Pullman, Washington.

On the one hand, FREEDOM ROCK was marketed as a collection of 60s hippie music, but several of the songs are from the early 70s and it has a ton of great songs on it. And you can find the commercial for it on YouTube.


READERS DIGEST’S GOLDEN AGE OF ENTERTAINMENT (A close approximation) Various artists

In 1979, my father bought a 1972 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. 5000 pounds of beige steel with a 7.7 liter engine that produced 220 horsepower and (according to the factory) had a top speed of 119 miles per hour. (I got my dad’s Caddilac up to 130, but that’s probably a different story.) Anyway, this was the first car my parents ever owned that had more to it than an AM radio. This car boasted an AM/FM radio with an 8-track player.

My brother and I were 11, but my mom was 47 and my dad was 59. So, my parents being my parents, all of the 8-tracks they bought were the kinds of 8-tracks that 50 year-olds bought in the 1970s: MY FAIR LADY; OKLAHOMA; THE THREEPENNY OPERA; WAYNE NEWTON and (as a concession to my brother and I) the soundtrack to STAR WARS (we were still a year away from THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK).

The 8-track that I still wish I had, though, is THE GOLDEN AGE OF ENTERTAINMENT. This 4 tape set was a package that my mom ordered from an advertisement in the back of a magazine or from a commercial on TV and it contains dozens of songs that are still with me 42 years later. One of the things we did ever year was to take a ridiculously long family vacation. Since my dad retired in 1975 and my mother didn’t work outside of the home, every summer we would take a 3-4 week long family car trip. Most years we went east to visit my mom’s mother and other family in Wisconsin and my dad’s siblings in Ohio. For 6 years that conveyence for that trip was the Cadillac and since we only had about a dozen 8-tracks, we heard these tapes over-and-over-and-over again.

Last year during the pandemic I created this playlist on Spotify that is a close approximation to the original 8-tracks we had. A couple of the songs are not available but in most cases I was able to find a different version of the same song by a different artist.

Music was one of the few areas where my dad and I had at least partial agreement. I don’t think he was a huge fan of a lot of the 70s and 80s music I listened to, but I was a big fan of all of the music that he listened to. This set of 8-tracks was one of those areas of agreement.

My favorite songs on this set are probably “Der Fuehrer’s Face” by Spike Jones, “Night and Day” by Fred Astaire, and “The Donkey Serenade” by Alan Young. The one that I substituted because the original is not available on Spotify that I miss the most is “Once in Love With Amy” by Ray Bolger. The version I used as a substitute is by Frank Sinatra, but the Ray Bolger version has some elements that Frank Sinatra can’t duplicate.


Year of the Cat Al Stewart

I got my first radio when I was in the 5th grade. It was a Panasonic flip number clock radio very similar to the one in GROUNDHOG DAY. “Time Passages” was the brand new song by Al Stewart at the time, but “Year of the Cat” got a lot of airplay around the same time so I heard it almost as often as I heard “Time Passages.” I think “Year of the Cat” also featured in some locally produced “Arctic Cat” snowmobile commercials around that time. They were probably unauthorized.

Anyway, this song fascinates me because of the extremely beautiful production. It’s a great song and the way I like to listen to it is to close my eyes, and focus on one instrument at a time. I often listen to it 2 or 3 times in a row and I usually focus on the guitar on the right first, then the drums on the second listen, and the piano on the third. I find that by trying to focus on one instrument in a song that’s as well produced as this one, you usually end up hearing more of the other instruments because you have to keep telling your brain “that’s not the guitar” or “that’s not the bass.” Trying to focus on one sound helps you be aware of how they fit all these sounds together. And it’s a real pleasure to do this when there’s so much going on in the song.


Mess Around Ray Charles

I think I first heard this song in the movie PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES when I saw it at the Micro Movie House in Moscow, Idaho, back in 1987. It’s the song that Del plays air piano to on the dashboard of the car right before he accidentally spins out the car and gets them headed the wrong direction on the freeway. The song caught my attention because of the heavy boogie-woogie piano. When I first heard it I thought it might be a Jesse Stone song but when I acquired it the label said it was by “Nuggy” which I guessed might be a Jesse Stone pseudonym. Of course I found out later that it was an Ahmet Ertegun pseudonym.

The song has everything you could want. Ray Charles, bouncy piano, and at eiter 3 very good saxophone players or one saxophone expertly double-tracked (which I don’t think was a thing in 1953). The song was Ray Charles’ first national hit wen it was released in 1953 and it stands the test of time.


Since I’ve Been Loving You Led Zeppelin

Today is the 50th anniversary of the release of LED ZEPPELIN III which I have owned since about 1983 or 1984. I got a bunch of Led Zeppelin albums when I was in high school from the Columbia Record and Tape Club and this song has always been one of my favorites on this album. The song was written by John Paul Jones, Jimmy Page, and Robert Plant.

I’ve always loved this song, but for me it will also be remembered because, when Persephone was little, I used to sit with her almost every night and rock her to sleep in our apartment in Boise while this song played on our stereo. It’s a perfect dark nighttime songs. Like most Led Zeppelin songs, it sounds like it was recorded in the middle of the night. It’s also early enough in Led Zeppelin’s career that the song on the album could easily be recreated on stage with the exact same instrumentation. It’s just Page, Paul, Plant, and Bonham. No helpers playing bass or an extra guitar part. John Paul Jones does play the organ, but he’s also playing the bass line on the organ pedals. Jimmy Page’s guitar solo on this song is often on lists of the 100 greatest guitar solos of all time.

Happy anniversary Led Zeppelin III.


Giddyup Do-nut - Don Bowman

I first encountered this song on the November 18, 2007, episode of The Doctor Demento Show which you can stream at his website for $3.00. The song was written by Don Bowman, Noel Confer, Red Sovine, and Tommy Hill and it’s a parody of “Giddy Up Go” by Red Sovine.

I first heard this song when my family and I lived in a mobile home outside of Moscow, Idaho. I had recorded this episode of The Doctor Demento Show from an online radio station and I had it running in the background while I was doing some work and my wife came in and started talking to me and she said something along the lines of “What the hell is this?” The song tells the story of a loser that wins a doughnut truck in a poker game and generally makes fun of Red Sovine’s song “Giddy Up Go” but twists a lot of the expectations that anyone who has listened to a Red Sovine song would have. The phrase “Yippee. Big deal” has become a byword in our house for I know you’re excited about this but I really don’t give a shit. I love this song because it’s just totally silly. It is an outstanding parody of the country truck-driving songs that Red Sovine made popular in the 1960s and 1970s.

Don Bowman was the 1960s-1970s country music equivalent of “Weird” Al Yankovic. He recorded several singles and 11 albums of goofy country music songs and he worked as a DJ in Branson, Missouri. Unfortunately, though, Bowman’s life didn’t end well. In 2001 he attempted to commit suicide and the suicide attempt left him paralyzed. He then ended up spending the last 12 years of his life in a nursing home until he died of cancer.

Don Bowman has a few albums available on Spotify and is well worth seeking out.


He Knows My Key (Is Always In the Mailbox) - Vivian Copeland

I first encountered this song on Spotify on an album called UNDERGROUND OLDIES: VOLUME III which is, unfortunately, no longer on Spotify. You can find the song, however, on YouTube. The song is credited to Ray Dahrouge and Billy Terrell and was released as a single on D’Oro records.

I first heard this song while I was making dinner one night. I had Spotify on the computer running through a set of speakers in the kitchen when I was washing some dishes and the song caught my attention. It starts with a good horn part - which I always enjoy. Then as I listened to the lyrics, about a woman who has a boyfriend that “takes all my love for granted” but she “can’t help it if I love him like I do” so she makes sure that her key is always waiting for him in the mailbox so he can let himself in at night whenever he feels like it. He treats her like crap, but she feels “someday he’ll want to settle down.” So, the tale the song is telling is kind of horrible - about a woman who doesn’t have enough self-respect to ditch this asshole, but I really love this song. All of the recordings I’ve heard by Vivian Copeland have horn parts that sound so much like the Memphis Horns that I wouldn’t be surprised if her backing band was the horn section on her recordings.

Vivian Copeland also recorded some other songs for D’Oro like “Chaos (In My Heart),” “Oh No Not My Baby,” and “I Don’t Care” as well as “I don’t Care What He’s Done (In The Past)” for Mala Records. I don’t know much about her, but all of these records seem to have been released between 1966 and 1971.

Vivian Copeland will be an artist I look for whenever I go to used record stores from now on.